Looking For Connection To God

More than 90 percent of Americans say they believe in God, yet many feel no real connection to Him. 

There is a distance between where we are, spiritually, and where God longs for us to be. 

In Ecclesiastes 3:11 we read, “He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” We have been given an inner longing for a relationship with God.

 

Starting Sunday and going through Easter Sunday (March 27), we will be in the sermon series Finding Your Way Back To God.

Drawing from one of Jesus’ most well known stories from Luke 15 (the lost son), we will discover five awakenings that happen, not only to the lost son, but to all of us as we awaken to the reality of who God is and what He wants for us as His creation. 

Beginning with the Awakening To Longing and the realization there has to be more to all of this, we will move through Awakening to Regret and wishing we could start over, Awakening to Help and realizing we can’t do this on our own, Awakening To Love and finding out God loves us deeply after all, Awakening To Life and finding out this is living. Finally, we will tackle the question of Empty?. Since the tomb is empty and Jesus is risen, we have victory but also the ability to longer live an empty existence.

This series has the potential to impact many lives. Be sure to join us for all six weeks and invite someone to attend with you.

Songs We Sing (02.14.2016)

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When we sing together, we are corporately singing the praises of our God. It’s a participatory activity. “Songs We Sing” is an weekly effort to help us better learn the songs we are singing as well as to gather some small insight into what we are singing. If you’d like a copy of the songs listed, a link is provided (where available). For the services of February 14, 2016, CCJ band We Come Alive led music and we sang:

 

ENDURE
Written by Kurt Neighbors, Daniel Ross, Andrew Kieffner and Mike Weisensteiner; 2011. This song was inspired by Psalm 72 and II Timothy 2 and has lyrics that focus on the goodness and might of God and how we should live in light of that truth.
Buy “Endure” by Narrow Path.
 
YOUR NAME IS MATCHLESS
Written by Colin Edge, Neil DeGraide, 2015. What God has done for us is matchless. We were adopted as children of God through the blood and sacrifice of Jesus. Because of that, we sing glory to His name.
Buy “Your Name Is Matchless” by Sovereign Grace Music.
 
LEANING ON THE EVERLASTING ARMS
Written by Elisha A. Hoffman, 1887. Music by Anthony J. Showalter. “What have I to dread/What have I to fear/Leaning on the everlasting arms …” I think of my grandparents when we sing this song. They left a rich legacy of faith for me and they came from a generation where “leaning on the everlasting arms” meant so much more than it does now (in many ways).
Download “Leaning On The Everlasting Arms (Live at CCJ)” by We Come Alive.
 
JESUS PAID IT ALL
Written by Elvina M. Hall, 1865. We can do nothing to earn our favor with God. Only Christ’s blood makes us holy. Not our good works, not any action we take — ONLY Christ’s blood.
Buy “Jesus Paid It All” by Kristian Stanfill.
 
HOSANNA
Written by Brooke Fraser; 2006. The word “hosanna” is a Hebrew word that means “O save!” It is a simple cry for our salvation. I love the line in this song that says “break my heart for what breaks Yours.”
Buy “Hosanna (Live)” by Christy Nockels.
 
ALL MY TEARS
Written by Julie Miller, 1993. This has turned out to be one of the favorites around CCJ. It’s a simple declaration and song of faith in eternal life with God. Musically, this is a really versatile song that can be done in many different ways.

Buy “All My Tears” by Julie Miller.

What Will You Hear At The End?

The life of Joseph was long, complicated, and full of twists and turns. However, trusting in a faithful God, Joseph remained faithful unto death at age 110.

This Sunday, we will be wrapping up our Blueprint series with the sermon Faithful Unto Death from Genesis 46:28-30 and 50:15-26. Joseph never retired from faithfulness, remaining faithful until the end of his life and not seeking revenge against his brothers.

The newest song we’ve been singing at CCJ is called Your Name Is Matchless. The third verse includes these words:

Ponder all we have been given: heirs to God through Jesus’ name
A sting-less death has been made certain and glory now awaits.

As followers of Christ, that’s what we all long for — a “sting-less death” and to stand before God having remained faithful to the end and to hear “well done, good and faithful servant.” It can sound like a daunting task, but the good news is Jesus stands in our place. The Perfect One was faithful and God sees us through Him.

So, for those who follow Jesus, the sting-less death is certain and glory now awaits. Take heart, He has overcome.

Forgiveness Is Faithfulness

We’ve been studying the life of Joseph in our current sermon series, Blueprint. Joseph was used by God in mighty ways, not the least of which was helping to save God’s people from starvation. You see, God planned for the Messiah (Jesus) to come through the line of His people, so keeping them alive was necessary.

One aspect of Joseph’s story that stands out is his forgiveness. Being sold into slavery is pretty rough, I’m sure. We’ll talk about that more this week (Sunday at 9 and 10:30 a.m.) with Faithful In Forgiveness, the next-to-last sermon in the series.

That begs the question. Why do we often hold back forgiveness?

I’m sure we have our reasons, but the truth of the matter is, a believer should be quick to forgive. You see, we have been forgiven much. We rebel in our sin and commit high treason against a good, perfect, holy Father. We are justifiably condemned to (eternal) death. But God — that’s one of my favorite lines in the Bible — forgave us through Jesus’ sacrifice.

Ephesians 2:1-5 (really, go read the whole thing, it’s amazing stuff) says, “Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)”

Because of His forgiveness, we can — and should — forgive others. Sometimes that’s easier said than done. However, it’s not optional.

Because He loved us first, we can love others and forgive just as we have been forgiven.

Easter 2016

Easter is Sunday, March 27. CCJ will be holding three services that morning.

8:00 a.m.

9:30 a.m.

11:00 a.m.

Make plans now to attend and bring someone with you. We will celebrate the empty tomb in a big way on Sunday, March 27 (Note: There will be no Good Friday services this year). Mark your calendars now.

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